Panel of experts to assess Dewani

The honeymoon murder accused was extradited to SA to stand trial for the 2010 murder of his wife.

British businessman and honeymoon murder accused Shrien Dewani arrives in Cape Town on 8 April 2014. Picture: Sapa.

CAPE TOWN - Murder accused Shrien Dewani will now be assessed by a panel of experts at the Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital in Pinelands, ahead of his provisional trial date in October.

It must be determined whether he is fit to stand trial in the Western Cape High Court.

The British businessman is accused of hiring hit men to kill his wife Anni during their honeymoon in Cape Town in 2010.

Anni's body was found in an abandoned car in Khayelitsha following an apparent staged hijacking.

Dewani is accused of paying three men to kill her, which he has vehemently denied.

Three other men are already serving lengthy jail terms f or their roles in the murder.

A panel of four experts will assess his mental health, to help the court determine whether he is fit to stand trial.

Both the prosecution and defence have agreed the trial will start on 6 October, should Dewani be deemed mentally sound.

The state has just 18 months to bring him to trial or he'll be sent back to Britain.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA)'s Nathi Mncube explains:

"We can still start the trial on the 17th month, as long as we commence with the trial. In other words, we must put the charge to him within the 18 months."

Dewani's own lawyer believes his client will be mentally fit to stand trial.

He was extradited to South Africa from the United Kingdom in April and is said to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.